Skip to main content

West Virginia Has Sharpest Population Decline In U.S., Will Lose A Seat In Congress

WV Public Broadcasting

West Virginia’s population has declined at the highest rate in the nation over the last 10 years, which translates to the state losing a seat in congress following the 2022 midterm elections.

According to preliminary data released Monday by the U.S. Census Bureau, West Virginia lost 3.2 percent of its population since 2010 — the highest rate of population loss in the nation. West Virginia now has just under 1.795 million people, according to the 2020 Census.

The national count dictates apportionment in the U.S. House of Representatives and each state’s impact on the electoral college.

While six states are picking up one or more seats in congress, West Virginia is one of seven to lose a seat — bringing the state down from three seats to two.

In a joint statement last week, the current House members — Rep. David McKinley, Rep. Alex Mooney and Rep. Carol Miller — said they all planned to run for reelection, but might reconsider after the new lines are drawn.

The state’s representation in congress has trended downward since the 1960 Census, when it lost its sixth seat in the U.S. House.

Results from the 2020 Census have been held up for months due to the delays caused by the coronavirus and interference by the Trump administration.

Once final data is delivered, the West Virginia Legislature will hold a special session in the fall to redraw the state’s congressional districts and divide up representation at the statehouse.